On March 22 The Washington Post ran an opinion piece which contended it is patriotic to question late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s pro-gun rulings and worldview.
The piece contended that Scalia’s method of judgement and the intellectual approach he undertook would be little more than “an embarrassing curiosity” if the rulings against gun control did not affect so many in an adverse way.
Penned by Elliott Vanskike, the WaPo opinion piece was triggered by NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox’s statement that Scalia’s February 13 death “shocked Second Amendment advocates and other patriotic Americans.” Vanskike took this to “imply that one cannot be patriotic and hold a different opinion of the Second Amendment than Justice Scalia.”
Vanskike suggested Cox was also intimating that one could not be patriotic and hold a different opinion of the Second Amendment than the NRA.
The heart of the opinion piece is an attempt to refute Scalia’s “originalist approach” to the Constitution. Vanskike does this by suggesting that those who ratified the Second Amendment in 1791 could not “possibly have understood the amendment in the context of today’s armaments.” Similar arguments have been made against the First Amendment, with proponents of more speech control arguing that the Founding Fathers could not possibly have foreseen the Internet, much less Internet-based news sites, social media outlets like Twitter and Instragram, and others.
But such arguments against either the First or Second Amendment miss the larger point of what is really at stake in defending intrinsic, God-given rights. In other words, to argue against freedom based on the mode of speech or the type of firearm is to argue on the periphery.
As regards the Second Amendment, Justice Samuel Alito made clear the “central component” of the Second Amendment is the right to self-defense, period. So firearms that allow Americans to exercise that central component are those that the Supreme Court voted to defend during Scalia’s tenure, even if our Founding Fathers may never have envisioned the mechanical operation of such guns.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.